The Henry Vignaud papers are made up of letters, manuscript notes, and published works concerning Henry Vignaud's diplomatic career and scholarly life in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection is divided into four series: Henry Vignaud, Pierre Margry, Henry Harrisse, and Miscellaneous. Groups of correspondence, writings, printed materials, and biographical portraits are arranged within each series.
The Henry Vignaud series includes incoming and outgoing letters, manuscript notes, and published works related to Henry Vignaud.
The Correspondence subseries mainly consists of letters Vignaud received between 1866 and 1922 regarding his diplomatic work and academic interests. Correspondents, such as Pierre Margry and Henry Harrisse, often discussed articles and other publications about North American history. One 496-page letter book contains copies of Vignaud's outgoing correspondence from February 25, 1876, to June 1, . Written in both English and French, these letters relate to his appointment as secretary for the United States legation in Paris. The letter book contains a chart comparing the sizes and expenditures of the standing armies of European countries (p. 198) and a floor plan for the United States legation's new offices (p. 343).
The Writings subseries contains notes, speeches, and manuscript books by Henry Vignaud. He compiled notes about topics in American history and composed biographical sketches of Henry Harrisse. He entitled his manuscript books Lettre de Toscanelli à Martins (Texte et Traduction) and Notes de Ximenes sur la Lettre de Toscanelli. Additionally, his papers include the bottom portion of a colored map depicting the French-German border and a description of plans for an arc de triumphe to stand over the "Monument du Gen. Lafayette," accompanied by a photograph of the model of the monument. The second photograph is a of mock-up a statue of George Washington and Lafayette shaking hands; the statue now stands in Moringside Park,New York City. Both photographs are signed by [Frédéric-Auguste] Bartholdi.
The Writings of Ferdinand Denis , a fellow Americaniste and future librarian of the Saint Geneviève Library in Paris, consist of his manuscript notes on topics related to Portuguese exploration and colonies, particularly in South America.
The Printed Materials subseries includes articles that Benjamin Franklin Stevens wrote about unpublished manuscript collections in European archives and specimen pages from his annotated facsimile edition of Christopher Columbus: His Own Book of Privileges 1502…. Additional materials dated between 1895-1896 pertain to a legal case involving the former American consul to Madagascar, John L. Waller.
The Pierre Margry series of letters, writings, and other items relates to Margry's scholarly work on North America. The bulk of the Correspondence subseries comprises 381 incoming letters between June 1839 and October 1889 about his academic interests. Margry also composed Writings on various topics, such as Isle Royale, Canada, and Detroit. François-Edme Rameau de Saint-Père and Gabriel Gravier wrote Biographical Sketches about Pierre Margry shortly after his 1894 death; 4 engraved portraits of Margry accompany the biographies.
The Henry Harrisse series contains materials similar to those in the Pierre Margry series. The Correspondence subseries includes 11 letters, 3 undated and 8 sent between November 1866 and January 1904, Harrisse wrote about his academic work, discussion of publications by his colleagues, and his efforts to locate specific maps. The Writings subseries contains extensive manuscript notes related to his publications about the European discovery and early exploration of North America. This interest continue to be reflected in the Biographical Portraits subseries , which includes notes and proofs for Harrisse’s work on “Americus Vespuccius” and on the sixteenth-century explorers John and Sebastian Cabot, as well as a 1-page account of Harrisse written by John Johnson (June 23, 1891); Henry Vignaud's writings on Harrisse are located in the Henry Vignaud series.
The Miscellaneous series includes 13 additional letters, 3 postcards, 2 funeral invitations for Sigismond-Joseph-Marie-Louise de Pourcet, baron de Sahune and Antoinette Helin, an invitation to a ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase on December 18-20, 1903, and other miscellaneous notes.